Getting the gold out: The rats are fleeing Venezuela's sinking ship

You can tell that things are not going well for Venezuela's Maduro socialist dictatorship, based on how they're behaving now. All signs are out now that the rats are fleeing a sinking ship.

Giant contractors, even from Venezuela's allies Russia and China, are pulling out, meaning the money's running out.

Just as interesting are the huge 757 Russian off-radar cargo jet flights into Caracas bearing the name of a newly-founded company, which sounds like a front for the Russian government. They came and went, with unknown purpose, but lots of room for anyone who might want to ... smuggle out the nation's gold.

The reliable Russ Dallen of Caracas Capital, sent out a market note with a suggestion that things are moving. His analysis is succinct:

Events continue to transpire quickly in Venezuela.  There is a big march planned for tomorrow and the Opposition has  something to rejoice about as the Maduro Regime's latest attempt to liquidate the nation's gold patrimony has collapsed.

First, we tracked the Russian cargo jet bugging out earlier this afternoon (before the Russians turned off their transponder to avoid being tracked).  They are now well passed Barbados and we think they are headed towards Cape Verde given their direction and previous routing.

Second, while UAE investment bank Noor Capital announced that they "purchased approximately three tonnes of gold from Venezuela's Central Bank" on January 21 (explaining the earlier jets we tracked), Noor says that the current sale of another $800 million is not happening (por ahora):  "Until the situation in Venezuela stabilizes, Noor Capital will refrain from any further transactions."

Overall, good news for Venezuelans, democracy, bondholders and creditors:  Cucarachas scatter when you turn on the light.

More of his thoughts on the unfolding story can be heard at this site here

The story with the United Arab Emirates is interesting, too - they were planning to buy a large chunk of Venezuela's gold for cash - and somehow called off the deal. Someone must have told them they wouldn't like the consequences. Update: This just out: They bought some.

It's since been followed by additional pressure on Turkey - which also is buying itself some Venezuelan gold - apparently to store in Iran. In this case, it's clear the U.S. is warning them to stop. According to the BBC:

The Turkish government is coming under renewed pressure to stop buying gold from Venezuela, the BBC has learned.

A senior Western diplomatic source told the BBC that Turkey was now considered the main concern among the countries engaging in the trade.

They added that there are growing suspicions that gold exported to Turkey was ending up in Iran, which would violate US sanctions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backs Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who is facing a growing political challenge.

Venezuela's gold trade with Turkey is soaring. Last year, the country exported almost $900m (£688m) worth of gold to Turkey, ostensibly to be refined there and returned to Venezuela, although there is no record of re-exportation.

Clearly, the U.S. is using the power of its tremendous markets and alliances to curb the world's few regimes that still support Venezuela. A very big plan seems to be in action.

It appears to be achieving mixed success. 

But what's important is the Venezuelan dictatorship's indicative actions. Why are they so desperate to sell or get their nation's gold out?

This is what dictators do who are getting ready to flee their countries. As Colombia's president Ivan Duque noted, the Maduroites are in their last 'hours.' And National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned Maduro he's looking at life in Gitmo.

The only conclusion is to think the cockroaches are scattering. The rats are fleeing and Bolton is going after them with a shovel. But the ship is sinking.

One can only hope that better times are ahead and soon, in hellish Venezuela. The socialist nightmare looks as though might just be coming to an end.


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